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USA changing gears quickly, focusing on Canada


photo by Andrew Katsampes/



FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Saturday's 4-0 defeat to Spain was the most thorough defeat the U.S. men's national team has suffered since a 5-0 loss to Mexico in the 2009 Gold Cup final, and it is something the Americans are planning to quickly move on from.

Not because they necessarily want to, but because they have to.

The U.S. team's Gold Cup opener in Detroit, Michigan is in two days, leaving the Americans little time to sulk over what went wrong and what could have been done better versus the world champs. Instead, the United States must focus on the task at hand: Canada.

"It's not ideal," said Michael Bradley of the three-day turnaround. "But having said that it is what it is. We all have experience of playing in games that come quickly, whether it's during the season and you're playing Wednesday Saturday, or different times in a World Cup, or Gold Cups in the past. We all know how to do it."

That type of mentality is something that head coach Bob Bradley will need from all his players if the United States is to avoid losing its first ever match in the group stage of the Gold Cup. The United States' northern neighbor will provide a different type of challenge, however.

Canada may not be as talented as Spain, but more than bragging rights will be up for grabs when it faces the U.S. team for the first time since a controversial 2-1 U.S. win in the semifinals of the 2007 Gold Cup, a tournament the Americans went on to win.

"They're not as strong as Spain, but there is more on the line," said Tim Ream, who started and went the distance against Spain in his fourth cap for the United States. "They're going to come out flying and we've got to come out flying. It's do-or-die time now.

"Obviously it's a group stage (match), but we want to win the group and get out of there on top. They're going to come in with a little chip on their shoulder and we've got to match their intensity, so we've got to go in and take care of business."

With Dwayne de Rosario and Julian de Guzman leading Canada, beating the Canucks won't be easy. Not when the game is being played so close to Canadian border, and not when Canada has posted a 2-1-2 record in its last five games against decent oppostion.

The United States will be favored to trump Canada course, but Bob Bradley knows better than that, especially when the Canadians are hoping to beat their archnemesis for the first time since April 1985.

"A team that we have a lot of respect for, a team that comes into this Gold Cup feeling confident," said Bob Bradley of Canada. "They've had some good results in the last six months, and so we understand that the first game of any tournament is always a tough one, and we expect a real difficult game against a rival."


What do you think of the team's three-day turnaround? Worried about Canada? Think the Americans will win?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I wonder if Bob Bradley did not have a plan to use the players he plans to start vs Canada for only 1/2 vs Spain (except Howard). That argues that the starting lineup will not include Aguedelo, Sasha, Ream, Spector so it could be
    Wondo Altidore
    Dempsey Bradley (Edu or Jones) Donovan
    Boca Goodson Onweyu Cherundolo

  2. Bizzy, Nice to see you have finally seen the light. MB was probably the #1 reason (aside from Howard) that Messi was frustrated against the USA.
    It is certainly true that MB is not a skillful dribbler, and he has had a pass go awry, but most of the time, he is in the right place to make a tackle, or intercept a pass, then finds himself in spot that is almost guaranteed to be difficult. Saturday he connected on most of those passes out of difficult spots. I am looking forward to a pairing of MB and Holden in the US midfield. Both are young enough that they could hold sway there for several years.
    I agree with you that Spector does not seem to have the mentality to be a back (also the #1 reason Bornstein has problems there). Gooch has never been good at passing the ball, his biggest asset is his physicality, The USA should be able to do better going forward, Ream will play a role, all the others are getting a bit old for the demands of international soccer.

  3. As for the current USMT. I can’t figure out why BB doesn’t move to a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1. Donvoan and Dempsey make the attack for the US, and both going to be >30 years old at the next world cup. They are deadly wide attackers, why waste their legs with defensive burden in a 4-4-2? Especially with all the talent in the US system at DM and the wide FB positions (there is really lots of FB talent, despite the fact individuals are maybe lacking for form right now).

  4. As a Canadian I’m an outsider to this debate, but I think your all crazy if you don’t think the US is getting better and better at developing young soccer talent.

    Not every prospect pans out and some kids develop later. So Adu seems to have flamed out, but then a guys like Edu comes through the NCAA and MLS and achieves a higher standard in his early 20’s.

    American soccer is in the midst of a transition away from youth clubs and NCCA player developmemt toward the global model of pro club academies. American development infrastructure is not at mature as the mexican club system, so this generation of american proscpect layers aren’t as ‘ready’ to play at 18-20 years old as their mexicna counterparts. But the progress of MLS academies is obvious and future generations of players.

    As US supporters you have to be optimistic about the future. At the the international level I can’t think of another country that has made has much progress as the US in the last decade. Your future is so bright, your domestic league has gotten significnatly better, and youth development will be boosted by MLS academies.

  5. Shame on me for looking forward to USA-Spain when the timing screamed out “meaningless scrimmage.” Three days before a tournament opener is no time for an actual game, even if it’s a friendly — that’s when you play an intrasquad scrimmage, or maybe a closed-door scrimmage against one of the other tournament teams. Whoever scheduled and/or agreed to the scheduling of this match should explain themselves. And if Bradley had the game forced on him by the business guys, good for him for treating it like the scrimmage it should have been.

  6. No it wasn’t. There were missing their captain from Blackburn for one, and that Tommy Smyth guy for two — that’s their two best players.

    When NZ’s players form MLS get called in, it’s not a full first-team squad. That’s what I’m talking about.

    Just because you put your name as “kiwi” doesn’t mean you have any idea what you’re talking about.

  7. I would say there are FEW midfields in the world as strong as:


    With Jones, Edu, Spector, Chandler on the bench.

    England? Nope. I’ll take our guys over whoever they can trot out in MF.

    Spain, Argentina, Brazil…MAYBE Germany, Dutch. Help me out here, guys…

  8. Weve been doing good in the youth levels for years….but it hasnt translated to the youth side. Sizzo, Renken, Jerome, Barrett, Farfans, Sarkodie, Gil,Mcinerney, are names weve heard of as being stars for their respective teams and they may be fine MLS ers or Pros…but a 19 we new Landon was special, and Barrerra, Chicharito, Dos Santos Brothers, Vela, Guardado are all under 24 and are pretty solid where as Altidore and Adu are not busts yet, they are getting there. I dont blame Holden as I dont blame JOB same with Davies. That doesnt diminsh the fact that injuries may dampen their careers. Can break your leg twice and not lose anything? Chandler is probably going to jump ship or why else would he not play and get cap tied? As far as the domestic league id argue its watered down. Burnburry excites me and MAYBE Anguduelo but thats it.For beng around as long as it has it should have produced more NAT talent.Even the overseas up and comers like Marcus Tracy, LLeget, and Lichaj have fizzled. My point is there andy SPECIAL talents out there ie Landon Or Demspey to take us past the next cycle or are the days of Dos a Cero gone for good?

  9. I’d much rather see Bedoya over Sascha at this point, especially out-wide. Sascha just gave the ball away too many times against Spain for my taste.

  10. Here’s what I want to see v Canada:


  11. you’re right. I’m going to shell some of this, but first I’ll agree with you on some points.

    CB: Goodson and Bocanegra should start
    RB: Cherundolo is the starter
    LB: I’m going to be nice here and tentatively agree, although BB will certainly start JB.

    How can you champion for Freddy Adu to start? I don’t hate the guy, and he’s certainly done work in order to even get called in, but to give him a start over Jones or Edu is madness. This alone makes this post shell-worthy.

  12. really? No one coming up? US won the Milk Cup last year and MLS saw the last 2 MLS drafts being some of the strongest fields ever. We’ve been seeing a major youth movement in the last few years and I think it’s starting to show results. It was nice to see that FC Dallas’s youth squad crushed Barcelona’s a couple weeks ago too. Hans Backe is trying to slowly move along Agudelo, so his head doesn’t get too big. MB was third in the Eredivisie in scoring a few years as a midfielder and has been slowly rising from lesser to better leagues. You can’t blame Holden for injuries when they have been things like leg breaks. He’ll recover and be fine. Altidore is still wanted all over Europe and can still find his breakout season. Drogba didn’t find his form until he was, what, 26? Adu has allowed people in the US to realise how to not bring along youth. And Davies just began starting for his club, so give him time to get back to top form. Our domestic league has gotten incredibly more competitive in the last couple years and is at the point where in order to break through, you have to be much better than someone 5 years ago. Take a look at Robbie Findley, a guy who isn’t that good and has relied on his speed to make an impact. He started to find that it was difficult to find the field at RSL, which is a sign that players like him are starting to not make it in this country. I remember hearing that Clint Dempsey made his youth club team based alone on the fact that he could juggle. The standard today has definitely exceeded that. So no, I’m not concerned.

  13. I may get shelled for this suggestion, but what the hell….


    if that doesn’t click after 45 sub in Jones for Adu and shift to a more traditional 4-4-2

  14. Retorting as a fellow engineer… statistical analysis has no place in sports unless it is bast*rdized or trivialized.

    That said, Agudelo’s already shown he can poach goals. Really, the tying goal against Chile in January should have been his given that he earned the PK (which Bunbury took).

  15. Its not a case of Ream not being ready…he’s just not good enough. He can pass ok but you need your defender to actually be good defensively …. Which he is not. Also worried about mex young talent..we have none. Landon Jones Dempsey and Howard are all over 28 with no one coming up. Angudelo doesn’t even start for NY. Jr can’t pass. Holden is already 24 and looks to be a JOB with the constant injuries, altidore and adu are in bust territory and Davies is done unless we get a pk in every nat game we play.

  16. No question the Spain game was a cheap money-grab by USSF, and I’ll know better before I pay good $ for a glorified scrimmage in the future. I knew the game was a waste when the US lineup was announced.

    I’m thinking with the abundance of MFs (Holden & Geilhaber excepted) on the GC roster, that we may see a willingness by BB to move Donovan and/or Dempsey up top in this tourney. Altidore is treading water, and JA and CW are still unproven. Unless one of these guys break out, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a change. I’m think Altidore has the shortest leash right now.

  17. Coming from an engineer I think your sample size is to small to draw any valid conclusion. Though I do hope Juan has a high ceiling and great future with the USMNT. That said Jozy is also young and I hope he gets of the snide soon.

  18. I would say the talent gap between your sister and Michael Phelps isn’t comparable to that of Mexico & the USA. Kind of a crappy analogy you made there.

  19. I think that’s what the USA does best, fight. That’s what was so difficult about yesterday is that it seemed like no one cared. Heart is what it will take to win the GC.

  20. I am going to say this, and I may eat my words, but I have a feeling that Dempsey and one of the either Agudelo or Wondolowski are going to have a monster Gold Cup. I just have this feeling. Dempsey is somewhat due, he hasn’t scored for the Nats since the WC and even then it was a suspect goal. I liked the heart and work rate of both JA and Wondo yesterday and I have a feeling one of them will be a hero.

    But, what do I know, I’m just a commenter on here. haha.

  21. I’m Canadian, and I’ll say that the US should handle Canada without much trouble. The quality gap has grown further since the 07 GC semi match. The cdn back line and goalkeeping have regressed significantly. Deguzman is a shadow of what he was back in 07… Probably shouldn’t be starting anymore. Dero is being asked to play a more disciplined central playmaker role for Canada thes days… No more freelance out wide. Their a new generation of mids/attackers that Canada is building around for this WCQ cycle:
    – Josh Simpson (wide left)
    – Simeon Jackson (wide right or CF)
    – Atiba Hutchison (centre-mid)
    These are the guys to watch out for.

    Matches against the US are a big deal fir Canada so our boys will be focused, but we just don’t have enough

  22. Why are people saying Gooch is not the same before the injury??? Even before his injury when USA played quality teams he would get faked out very bad and get out of position. Look at world cup 2006. In the confed cup Spain and Brazil games he did good other then that. his mobility is none existent.

  23. I just wish we had Stu Holden to pair with Mb90 in the middle. our mids would be strong with donovan and dempsey on the outside

  24. bizzy,

    I’ve been visiting this site for what, 6 years now, and this is my first (and probably last time) commenting.

    Just want to say that your last paragraph gives me hope for humanity.

    Takes balls to go back on your previous comments; never thought it would happen, and g*dd*amn I respect that.


  25. Sadly, I think Gooch’s National Team days are behind him. He just has not been the same player since his injury. I hate it for him, but that’s the truth.

    Goodson, Ream, Lichaj, Bocanegra, Cherundolo need to be the ones in our back 4.


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